The Mike Valeras Group is the self-titled release from a quintet of Berklee College of Music graduates led by guitarist Valeras. With John Medeiros Jr. on drums, Jonathan Stoyanoff on bass, Tomas Heggdal on keyboards and Steve Giannaros on sax, the band takes the listener on a journey through Headhunter-like grooves, Weather Report influenced textures and soloing reminiscent of groups such as Tribal Tech and the Chick Corea Elektric Band. The Mike Valeras Group is solid from top to bottom, with strong cuts such as the opening burner, "Lo Phat" and the cookin' tribute to the Dregs, "Morse Code". If you like creative fusion, get on the bandwagon and check out this Boston band -- this should be the first in a long line of collectible CDs.
Gary Burton once described Boston as "guitar heaven, or the opposite, depending on your viewpoint." It was in this rich, musical breeding groud that the Mike Valeras group was formed. The group shares a love of instrumental virtuosity as well as an understanding of popular appeal, and strive to create memorable music within a jazz fusion context. Their goal is to steer clear of "watered-down" jazz and compose challenging music, thoughtfully arranged and cleanly recorded.
Building on the success of their debut release, the Mike Valeras Group promises to build on America's greatest art form by holding tight to the time-honored traditions of the past while keeping a close ear to the future.